I’ve spent some free days traveling with my family (my couple and my son). We’ve been to different places throughout Spain, but we’ve reached the same conclusion: it is NOT enough to love your children and be tattooed with their names.
I’ve seen families having a walk, gabbing with friends, playing on the beach, having a rest, etc. But almost all of them played the same role with kids: “I order – you obey” (my adult needs prevail yours).
Do we really think that’s how life works??
Is that what we want for them –submission and obedience? Or we want them to become capable and decision-makers?
I will show you some examples for you to get it clear:
1- A mother takes dinner for her two daughters (aged around 6 and 9) at the hotel’s buffet. When seeing it, the girls say long-faced: “Ugh! Don’t want that!” And their mother replies: “Shut up and eat! Or you’ll get no ice-cream later.” The little ones started to eat grudgingly. Is it necessary to treat your children as your worst enemy? Why does this mother not talk, understand, listen, and let them take their own decisions about food (amongst a variety of healthy choices)? Why do they have to just “shut up and eat”? How felt the girls? Downhearted, sad, submissive, bored, alone, troubled, discouraged? We must accompany our children with common sense, not with a strong hand and exigencies.
2- Walking on a beach esplanade, we see a 4-year-old boy asking parents to carry him, saying he’s too tired. To what they answer that he is a big boy that has to walk, and that they are tired too. Is he BIG? Really? An adult’s fatigue can be compared to that of a kid? Are legs the same? Isn’t it true that parents should assist their children wherever needed? Why are we always comparing adults’ to children’s feelings? Children must be supported whenever they need it, and if he told he was exhausted, he surely was. In case it was not possible to put him to sleep, at least they should have given a hand and lifted him up.
3- Walking on a street filled with ice-cream shops, we happen to see a family with two daughters. The oldest, of about 7, expressed her desire of an ice-cream. Her father said something like: “You will not have an ice-cream because you hit your sister on the beach.” Finally, she had to see how her sister relished with a mouthwatering one. And I ask myself: “why are we obsessed with mixing things up?? Seriously, do we think we are going to solve issues with those attitudes?” If two sisters have a fight (which is quite normal indeed), parents must learn how to deal with it, and try to manage it in the most accompanied and proper way, instead of encouraging anger and annoyance. The message we are giving her is that because of her sister, she finally can’t enjoy the ice-cream. Punishment is never a solution; it just brings negativity to all.
4- At the museum store. We see two kids, of about 10 and 12, asking their mother to buy some stuffed animals to keep them as souvenirs from the visit. She answers: “Do you think we are rich or what? The price for the tickets already counts for presents until next year!” Maybe arrogance works for you in some situations (or, not even in any) but what you have to bear in mind is that regarding your children’s education, it doesn’t serve any purpose. Why can’t we treat our children the way we want others to treat us? If it was not possible for that mother to buy the toys, at least she could have understood her kids, and given them the reasons in a simple and respectful way. And, of course, understand the emotions that this could evoke in them.
5- When being in the hotel’s elevator, there enters a mother with her little girl of about 8. They came from the swimming pool, and the kid just looked exhausted. Mother got cross and spat out: “You lazy one! You make me waste my time waiting for the elevator, instead of using the stairs. How were you brought up so lazy?” The blank face of the little girl just broke my heart. I smiled at her, and she smiled back. I wonder how it would have been if the mother had been a man, and the little girl an adult woman… Venting your inner fury with your children is a cruel and nonsense idea. Work on, manage and get to know your adult emotions to be able to accompany your children the best way.
6- Again, walking on an esplanade, it was around 10 PM, a smart family was off to dinner. Their little 6-year-old girl then stepped in dog poop. Obviously, she did it unintentionally, she didn’t want to bother anyone. But when adults realized, the “show” began… They spanked the little girl several times, and started shouting: “Where on earth were you looking at to step in that piece of shit?? Now, are you going to the restaurant smelling like shit?? You’re really disgusting!” Poor little girl’s face was a mix of fear, guilt, and sadness. Why so many families blame on their children even for the climate change? Can’t they see that little ones are just kids, and they need us?
And there I was, watching all these situations, listening to every story, and asking myself how those parents could live so out of touch with reality, out of their children’s needs; wondering if, at least, they heart-deep feel that what they were doing was NOT correct. With children, it is not enough to give them birth and love them to the core. We have to make an effort every single day for them to embrace and feel our love; for them to develop full confidence themselves, in their parents and life.
All those parents shared one thing: they were tattooed with their kid’s names.
But, as we have seen, that’s NOT enough. We should get our soul tattooed with our commitment towards them and us. We did bring them to this world with a purpose, and not just to get puppets.
As I don’t like generalizing, and I didn’t know all those families personally, maybe they were just having a bad day or felt overwhelmed (and that was not their typical rearing pattern). It’s quite common. Indeed, we are not perfect at all, we all have good and bad days. But we cannot lose our direction; we must have our goal clear: our children’s happiness, along with our own.
In many of these situations, parents were just meeting their adult needs and emotions, not their children’s. And that’s the first point you have to change for you to educate in a correct and positive manner. Change your mindset, your kids are your priority, without being careless about yourself.
Remember: your needs and worries are NOT theirs.
Respect, understand, accept.
Please, not only love your children but do also SHOW them so! And the best way to show is bringing them up well, in a positive manner, without using the role “here I am, and you must obey.” I assure you they won’t be the only ones to become thankful after all.
Thank you so much for your reading, and remember to share if my words inspire and help you in any way.
Parent & Teacher Educator, Author, Expert in Respectful Education & Founder of Edurespect School
P.S. Hey, for the record, I’m tattooed with a U (after my son Uriel hahaha). Just for you to understand the big contrast between what we feel-say-do.